TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA: Concert Review – Buffalo NY
Trans-Siberian Orchestra needs no introduction. From the signature vibrant lighting created by Brian Harley to the showmanship of the entire crew – they provide an experience like no other.
The show is very well thought out while providing high energy from beginning to end. Bryan Hicks’ storytelling is captivating yet soothing, comparable to that of Morgan Freeman. You’ll notice subtle Christian undertones all throughout the show.
I loved seeing the inclusivity amongst the performers. Violinist Roddy Chong and powerful lead vocalist Georgia Napolitano were highly talented, to name a few. The instrumentation was impeccable. TSO founder and creator, Paul O’Neill, crafted amazing instrumental versions of familiar carols, like “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “O Holy Night.” While the songs themselves are masterpieces, it takes a professional level of high competence to perform these riffs, solos and leads. While the guitar is by no means to sole instrument of this show, it is certainly the centerpiece. With shredders like guitar wizard Joel Hoekstra and TSO original Chris Caffery, this feat is pulled off in that “make it look easy” mode, but you can also tell they are having a blast doing it.
You could feel the magic in the air the entire night. The stories and the songs ebb and flow along perfectly, never waning or leaving room for distractions or boredom. The band jams almost non-stop from song to song, but the show has transitions, rests, and narration at just the right times to allow both performers and audience to catch their collective breaths.
While people’s cellphones were out all over the place, they were just eager fans trying to capture the moment to share with friends and reminisce later. And, of course, there was that old cigarette lighter moment where people turned their phone flashlights on and waved their arms back and forth. Looking around, it was like a rock and roll candlelight service.
“The Three Kings and I” is a humorous tale put to music, just like the “Old City Bar” tune is sentimental. The mix of thematic message (treating your fellow man like a brother) and music (TSO is almost like a genre unto itself) is like a perfect recipe that these musical chefs pull off with precision.
What touched me most was the sparkle in my daughter’s eyes for the entirety of the show. This little eight-year-old first-time TSO show attendee came away with a new favorite TSO song – “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo” (aka “Carol of the Bells”). While she has no reference point for what happened in the Bosnian city, she recognized the traditional Christmas carol. The frenetic back-and-forth guitars, violin, and keyboards blazed a new neural pathway that will probably stick for ages. While first appearing early on as only the eighth song in the two-hour set, the reprise of the tune at the end of the show bookended the night on an incredible high note.
Truly magical. Highly recommend for an unforgettable, true rockstar experience.